NYCB + JR + Lil Buck + Woodkid = Coolest Thing in Dance Since Demi Plié
The Eye of New York City Ballet, photo by JR via Instagram
Remember when New York City Ballet invited Parisian artist JR (who just happens to be buds with Pharrell, and who shares a similar accolade to President Bill Clinton and Bono) into its world for its 2014 Art Series earlier this month? When the TED Prize winner constructed The Eye of New York City Ballet, the awe-inspiring 6,500 square-foot photo installation on the floor of the Koch Theater in NYC? And when the opening night bash at the theater included a DJ spinning tracks for a packed house of bearded men and stilettoed fashionistas?
Well, just when you thought ballet couldn't get any hipper...it can.
The always-in-sunglasses JR in New York City Ballet's rehearsal studios. Photo by Paul Kolnik.
NYCB announced that its 2014 spring season will open with a bang: JR will be back(!), this time as choreographer(!!) with assistance from NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins. For his eight-minute work, he's collaborating with Lil Buck, the vegan jooker from Memphis who steals hearts every time he spins and balances en sneaker, arms fluttering to Saint-Saëns' The Dying Swan. JR and Buck are also working with French music phenom Woodkid, who has created videos for Katy Perry, Rihanna and Drake, and who scored a Grammy nom for his own short form music video, Run Boy Run. Seriously, cool.
"Choreographing has been a totally new experience for me," said JR in a release from NYCB. "The dancers became my paper and have helped me draw my vision and create new things." We at DS can't wait to see these new things—or the piece d'occasion as NYCB calls the as-of-now untitled work. In fact, we've officially started a countdown to the premiere on Tuesday, April 29:
62 days, people, 62 days.
Until then, check out some of the images from JR's Instagram feed, where he's been documenting the process. You're gonna want to come to NYC for this.
(left) "FYI I am the one learning here #makingmyfirstballet #springstage #rehearsal" (right) "Another day at the office : ) Choreographing my first ballet for New York City Ballet stage #spring2014"
"Main stage rehearsal #NYCBallet_JR"
"Long day at the Lincoln Center rehearsing my First Ballet piece that will perform on stage of the NYCBallet this spring... I ll reveal more of the process of making it as I am working on it with @lilbuckdalegend @laurenlovette @woodkidmusic @jonbatiste and the entire NYCBallet... Here with Peter Martins the director helping me finding the words : ) #process #1stballetchoregraphyofmylife"
"Everyday getting closer to the final piece ... #stage #2800peopleeverynight on a music by @woodkidmusic!"
We've said it before and we'll say it again: New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is some SERIOUS #goals. Her strength and power onstage borders on superhuman. But what's extra magical about Mearns is that she really puts in the fitness and cross-training work outside of the rehearsal studio. And she's overcome her fair share of injuries. Which is why she was the perfect source for Vogue's latest ballet fitness story.
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.